Bead Soup for My Partner

I decided to make the focal and clasp for my bead soup.  I wanted a new metal flower that was a little more tropical feeling, so I searched the web for some pictures until I found a flower that I liked.  Then I sketched it out and set to shaping the copper into my vision.

I’m really, really happy with how this flower turned out.  It’s 2 1/4 inches in diameter because that seemed like a good size to me.  I textured the petals and colored it with a plum patina from Metal Me This.  It’s the first time I’ve added a patina to metal, but it will certainly not be the last.

I also included one of my heart clasps.  I wanted to create a flower one, but I was already running behind and the purple one from my stash seemed to go really well with the other ingredients.

Bead Soup ~ closer view of focal and clasp

The one thing I didn’t do with this focal was punch the petals for stringing.  I had several ideas on where to punch, but I didn’t want to limit Susan’s creativity by selecting for her.  I did include my punch ideas in my card to her.

Bead Soup ~ punch ideas

I promise that I had already decided on a purple and yellow theme for this soup before I opened Susan’s package.  You know what they say about great minds and all.  You might also notice that the yellow rounds on the left are strikingly similar to the rectangles that Susan sent me.

Bead Soup Ingredients for Susan

The only thing I really wish I’d done differently was make the focal smaller.  I seem to have something for the large flowers, but I’m worried that she’s going to be limited because of the size.  I am so very excited to see what Susan does with these soup ingredients.


Creating an 85th Birthday Gift

My husband’s grandmother has made an afghan for each of her twenty-nine {29!} great grandchildren. She asked each set of parents what colors they wanted for their little one’s blanket. Then she would select a pattern and present the afghan after the baby was born.

Not long after my daughter was born, I got kind of curious as to what all the other blankets looked like. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to get a picture of each great grandchild with their blanket?? It’d be so fun to put them all together into a print.

It is grandma’s 85th birthday this year. I mentioned my idea to my mother-in-law about six months ago, and she loved the idea of a print. Then I thought putting all of the pictures into a photo book that she could carry around would be really special too.

But there was one teeny, tiny little hitch to my grand plan. These 29 grandchildren come from 12 different families all over the country. The project was in the back of my mind, but time completely got away from me. Less than two weeks before I needed all the pictures to put this project together, I managed to send out an email with my brilliant idea.

In spite of the very short time frame, everyone did a beautiful job with their kids and afghans. She received the finished products on Sunday and I hear she was “over the moon”! I only wish I’d been there to see her face.

All 29 Great Grands

And here’s my three with their blankets.

My ThreeWhat a fun project to pull together and see come from a fleeting thought I’d had one morning.

Happy 85th Birthday, Great Grandma Gwen!


Week 8: Welcome

The theme for this week was shadow.  Now, I live in the Pacific Northwest, so overcast is our default weather pattern at this time of year.  There’s not much opportunity for shadow because the sun is not available.

On Saturday afternoon, the sun made an appearance, so I snagged my camera and wandered around the neighborhood for a bit.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of sun, so there weren’t many distinct shadows.

As I went back to the house, the sun peeked through the clouds in earnest for about 15 minutes.  I noticed the fun shadow lines from our porch and was playing around with the shoes by the door.  Then I saw the lines in our welcome mat and thought that’d be even more interesting.

Week 8 ~ ShadowThis is another theme I think I’d like to play with more.  It was fun to try to incorporate shadows into my image instead of working to avoid them.



Soup Ingredients from Susan Sheehan

My Bead Soup Blog Party partner for the 7th swap is Susan Sheehan.  When I saw her name in the email from Lori, I thought, I know this gal.  But it took me a little bit to figure out how and why.  For now, I’m just going to keep that my little secret…

Susan’s beautiful soup showed up on my doorstep a full three days before I even shipped mine to her!  She was quite on top of the whole exchange, while I had been mired in a week of stomach flu immediately followed by five-year-old birthday party preparation.

I would like to say that I showed tremendous restraint and waited until I’d shipped her package, but in a move much unlike me {I blame the illnesses and stress ~ I needed a fun little break}, I tore open that box and went through all the lovely ingredients.

Susan is a glass bead artist {something I hope to learn one day ~ probably after I have all three kids in grade school}.  And she sent me some lovely creations and supplies from her stash.

Bead Soup from Susan Sheehan

I’m not sure I can specifically name everything she sent me.  But there’s a string of olive pearls, some Swarovski crystals, some fun green waxed linen, a set of yellow stones I can’t identify {but have some in my stash and love}, and some glass discs I’m pretty sure she created.

The pendant reminds me Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night even though it’s flowers.  The painting was the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw it.  The clasp is a fun style of clasp that I’ve admired for a long time.  I just hope I can do this soup some justice!

Bead Soup Close View  from Susan Sheehan

I’m looking forward to letting some ideas simmer in my mind while I gaze at these lovely ingredients over the next couple weeks.  I’m certain our March 30th reveal date will be here before I know it.

Make sure you take a few moments to browse Susan’s shop for some other really lovely beads.  She and I seem to share a love for flowers.


Week 7: Picnic Table

I thought last week’s theme of Texture was difficult.  This week was Symmetry, and I could not find anything that I felt was symmetrical and interesting to photograph.  I think my problem is that I wanted to take the theme too literally.  I was stuck on the idea of photographing a building or structure, and I lean more towards natural things, which in my mind, aren’t symmetrical.

I took the kids to the park late Sunday morning and tried a couple different things.  But they really weren’t working out.  As we walked back to the car, I noticed the picnic benches and got struck with the idea of symmetry and vanishing point perspective.

Week 7 ~ Symmetry

When I uploaded the pictures, I realized my focus was all off, but it makes kind of a different perspective ~ something a little less expected.  And if it was perfect, then it wouldn’t be called growth.

Still not thrilled with this theme, but it’s stuck in my head now, so maybe I’ll run across something else in a few weeks that I like better.  I really like these challenges because it makes me think not just of my photography, but also my subject and composition.


Week 6: Bus Sighting

My little 20-month-old daughter is very fond of watching the school bus pick up the neighborhood kids every morning.  Her older brother has brought the bus to her attention, so they frequently watch out the window for it to arrive.

Earlier this week, I decided to snap a few pictures of her waving to the bus, and as I was taking pictures I thought, I really love how the light captures the texture of her hair.

Week 6 ~ Texture

And a light bulb went off.

The theme for this week was Texture, and I was really struggling with what I should try to photograph.  I’m pleased that this one just sort of worked out.


Week 5: Recovering Babe

Low-light photography was the theme for this week.  Unfortunately for me, the theme for my week was stomach flu.

I’m constantly trying to get a good low-light picture of baby girl sleeping, but every time I try, I seem to instantly wake her up.  Not exactly the scenario you’re looking for at nap time or ten at night.

This image was from day two of the stomach flu.  She was napping wrapped up in her towel.  For some reason, she really liked having the hood on her little head and the towel wrapped around her ~ even fully clothed.  If it made her feel better, I was not one to question it.

Sleeping BabeThis image was taken with her laying on our bed and lit a bit by the natural light coming in from our window and my bedside lamp.